The best chicken you’ll ever eat! ( in my opinion. Lol)
This chicken is great as a main dish with a little Basmati Rice or potatoes on the side and it is also just as wonderful in soup!
Braised Chicken is cooked on the stove top in a heavy pot called a Dutch Oven.
For the pot, I have used a vintage Guardian Service Dutch Oven and a Le Creuset Cast Iron Dutch Oven, so I know these work well but any heavy Dutch Oven will probably work just fine.
STEP BY STEP INSTRUCTIONS:
I start with approximately 1.5 lbs of chicken breast (usually 2 chicken breast) and braise it in a heavy Dutch Oven.
To braise the chicken breast, I add about 4 TBS of my *favorite olive oil and 2 tsp of my *favorite sea salt to a zip lock bag along with the chicken breast and rub the olive oil/salt mixture into the chicken.
After rubbing the olive oil/salt into the chicken breast well, I place the chicken in the refrigerator while I prepare the Dutch oven.
To prepare the Dutch oven, I place it on the stove on a medium- low temperature and add 2 TBS olive oil and 1 TBS of unsalted butter, along with 1/8 to 1/4 C of water. (The water will vary according to the size of the chicken breast. If the chicken breast are small and likely to cook quickly, you want less water than if the chicken breast are plump and likely to take longer to cook)
I now, remove the chicken breast from the refrigerator and using a fork, place the chicken in the Dutch oven, skin side up.
I prefer the finished chicken breast to have a crispy, salty skin, so to this end, I add an additional 1 TBS more of salt to each chicken breast top and then carefully turn them over, skin side down.
Place the lid on your Dutch oven and cook on medium-low to medium for approximately 20 minutes. (If your chicken breast are small, I would check it after 10 minutes, instead of 20.)
After the 20 minutes is up, carefully lift the chicken to avoid tearing the skin and check the temperature with a meat thermometer, being careful not to touch bone with the thermometer. I take the chicken out of the pot for ease of using the meat thermometer.
At this point, the chicken should be partially done, some where around 140*. I place it back in the Dutch oven, skin side up, replace the lid and allow it to cook for approximately 10 minutes more. (If your chicken breast were small and are already at 165*/170*, skip down to the finishing step.)
After the 10 minutes is up, I check the temperature again.
By now, the chicken should be atleast 165* to 170* internally and the water should be mostly or completely boiled away, leaving only oil in your Dutch oven. (Once there is only olive oil in your Dutch oven, you’ll want to protect your clothes from oil spatter with an apron or diush towel)
Important Note: You want water in the pot and the lid on for the cooking process and oil only with the lid off for the finishing process, so, if your chicken is NOT yet atleast 165* to 170* and the water has boiled away, you want to add a little more water, place the lid back on your Dutch oven and continue to cook… If your chicken IS atleast 165* to 170* but there is still water in the pot, remove the lid and let the water boil away.)
Now that the internal temperature of the chicken is 165* to 170*, it is time to finish off the chicken by cooking it to a nice, crispy, golden brown!
FINISHING: With the lid off, brown the chicken breast in the olive oil that is left once all the water boils away. This step is quite quick, so stay by the Dutch oven and periodically flip the chicken until all sides are perfectly golden brown.
By this point, you don’t need to worry too much more about the internal temperature of the chicken. You already know that the chicken is done and because the chicken was braised, you can let the chicken get up to around 180* internally and it will still be delicious and juicy!
Let me know in the comments if you try out the recipe!
* A word about the olive oil and sea salt… A few months ago, when I started braising chicken, I found that the chicken was taking on some of the taste of the olive oil I chose. Up to this point, I had just been cooking with whatever olive oil my husband was picking up at Trader Joe’s and figuring olive oil was olive oil, right? Wrong! Lol I started noticing that some times the chicken tasted better than others and the only variable was the olive oil. I had never thought about this before but it made sense. So, at this point, I started deliberately purchasing different olive oils to try based on the descriptions and some knowledge I had gleaned by watching interviews on Samin Nosrat’s Netflix series/cookbook called Salt Fat Acid Heat about what to look for in good olive oil. I also, tried the Diamond Crystal kosher Salt based on Samin’s recommendation in her show and really liked it.